the rugged slopes of northern California,
preparation and hard work allowed the author to score on this cinnamon phase bear.
success is determined by many factors, and in order to maximize that figure,
it?s best to capitalize on those elements which are in our direct control.Choosing the best fitting, most accurate
shooting bow within our budget is a start. Proper bow accessories, practice and preseason scouting all play a roll,
too.But once hunting season hit?s,
what?s in the pack come crunch-time can make all the difference in the world.
No matter where I?m hunting for the
day, be it out of a remote spike camp in a remote wilderness or a short drive
from my Oregon
home, there are some items I?ll always have in my pack.Not always are these items used, but every
one has played a roll at one time or another in my success, safety, survival
and/or proper recovery of a game animal. These are items I personally rely upon based on over 30 years of
pursuing western big game.
Because of my profession, my top
priority is a camera.I carry a Canon
20D digital camera, but a simple point-and-shoot is all that?s needed.With so many hunters sharing a deep passion
for what we do, what better way to relive the memories than through
photos.Stay away from disposable
cameras with plastic lenses, as they do no justice to the animal, the hunter or
the beautiful terrain.For less than
$100 you can get a compact digital or 35mm camera that takes great shots.With the camera, include an extra battery and
roll of film.
You?ll always find a wind-checker
bottle in an easily accessible pouch of my pack.When closing in on an animal, I?ll slip it
into a pant pocket or even carry it in hand. Don?t be afraid to use these, I?ve gone through a bottle in a single
day.They are a small price to pay for
In addition to the basic allen
wrench set, an extra release aid, game calls, flashlight, toilet paper, trail
ribbon, rope, space blanket, mole skin, athletic tape, aspirin, ibuprofen and
an antihistamine, I?ll also have duct tape and super glue.Duct tape has many uses, ranging from boot,
clothing and minor gear repair to covering up hot spots on your feet and
sealing leaks in rain gear.Super glue
is perfect for sealing cuts, especially those encountered by broadheads or
A small knife (and sharpening steel)
is essential, and one with a four-inch blade is enough to quarter and bone and
elk, as well as cape it.In case of an
emergency, a couple health bars or trail mix, a mirror and fire starter are
must haves.If I?m in the wilderness,
away from base camp and many miles removed from civilization, I?ll also include
an MRE, just in case I get stuck out there.
A GPS, map and compass are a good
idea, but honestly, I?ve only relied on a GPS one time to get me out of the
woods.If hunting new area, these tools
can be worth it, and I?d rank a good topo map the most valued of the three.
I?ll also carry extra string serving,
as well as string wax and fiber optics for my sight pins.I?ve hunted in areas so dry and dusty, that
waxing the string each day, sometimes twice a day was necessary.I?ve also been in country so rugged, I?ve
destroyed three sets of fiber optics in as many days.Be sure to have a lighter to properly set
these fiber optics.
Finally, I?ll carry a set of cotton
gloves, a stocking cap and often an extra pair of socks.Should you get caught out at night, you want
to keep your extremities warm.Even on
early season, high country hunts where temperatures may reach 80 degrees by
day, they can get to below freezing at night. Prepare for the worst without bogging yourself down.
Besides being in the best physical
condition possible, take care of your feet. If your feet aren?t working, the hunt?s over.Clip toenails as short as possible a day or
two prior to the hunt.Make all efforts
to keep feet dry during the hunt.Tend to
hotspots, blisters, jammed toes and all else you may encounter.Deal with the discomforts before they
Finally, the most important element
of all; water.Bottles with the screw on
filter are preferred, though purification tablets also work well in preventing
giardia and other microbial contamination. With the screw on charcoal filters, I?ve drank from some scary water and
been just fine.By equipping yourself
with what you need to keep your bow and body functioning throughout the day, as
well as being prepared to deal with emergency situations, your success rates
rise and personal risks diminish.
in your day pack can make or break the hunt. The better prepared you are, the
higher the chances of success, as proven here by the author
and a 5 point Roosevelt taken last season.